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In the 1970s, fighter aircraft began to appear with Head-Up Displays (HUD) that projected key information, targeting crosshairs etc. onto a seemingly clear piece of glass. HUDs allowed pilots to keep their eyes in the sky, instead of looking down at their instruments. In the 1990s, another innovation appeared: helmet-mounted displays (HMDs) put the HUD inside the pilot’s helmet, providing this information even when the pilot wasn’t looking straight ahead. The Israelis were already pioneering a system called DASH (Display And Sight Helmet) when a set of former East German MiG-29s, equipped with Soviet HMDs, slaughtered USAF F-16s in NATO exercises. Suddenly, helmet-mounted displays became must-haves for modern fighters – and a key partnership positioned Elbit to take DASH to the next level.
This DID Spotlight article offers insights into the rocky past, successful present, and competitive future of a program that has experienced its share of snags and controversy – but went on to become the #1 helmet-mounted sight in the world. It also details the game-changing effects of Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems on air combat, its production sets and known customers, and all contracts since full-rate production began.
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Sep 27, 2012 12:04 UTC
Latest updates: JMATS & JMATS-II Support contracts.
MATS WST for
One of the most important components of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J medium transport planes never leaves the ground. The best equipment is useless if people aren’t trained to operate and maintain it, which is why the MATS (Maintenance and Aircrew Training System) set of trainers and simulators are so essential. When the Pentagon assesses “operational suitability” for an aircraft, a strong training structure is one of the things they look for.
MATS complements the existing ATS system for previous-generation C-130s, and provides a comprehensive range of training devices and training support services to aircrews. The USA’s JMATS contracts include aircrew instruction, operations, contractor logistics support and engineering services:
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Jul 22, 2012 20:14 UTC
The Israeli Air Force has known since December 2008 that its fleet of A-4 Skyhawk jet trainers and light attack aircraft would leave service. It took until July 2012 to sign a contract for the Skyhawk’s successor, despite justifiable complaints from South Korea that the process lacked full professional formality. The first M-346 Master trainers should begin arriving in Israel around mid-2014, where they will be operated by the IAI/Elbit “TOR” joint venture as a public-private partnership service to the IAF.
Italy’s M-346 eventually beat KAI’s supersonic T-50, thanks to a combination of air force evaluations, geo-political considerations, and countervailing industrial offers. For most countries, “industrial offsets” mean sub-contracting work in their country, sometimes even in sectors of their economy outside of the defense industry. Israel’s weapons industry is far more developed, however, and so their advanced trainer competition saw “industrial offsets” as the purchase of full-fledged Israeli weapons systems. South Korea was already a customer for Israeli radars, UAVs, and missiles, and was seen as the favorite thanks to their relationships and their jet. Italy was a much smaller customer, but relations between Silvio Berlusconi and the Jewish state had been good for a long time. By October 2011, reports surfaced that Italy had made Israel a very impressive offer – one that would make Italy a major export customer for strategic systems, even as it equalized purchases on both sides. In the end, it was an offer the Israelis couldn’t, and didn’t, refuse.
The deal’s components are as follows:
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Jan 19, 2012 17:00 UTC
In January 2012, Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics in Orlando, FL received a 5-year, $94 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to continue supporting the USAF’s Distributed Mission Operations Center. The mission of the 705th Combat Training Squadron DMOC is to to conduct exercises, training, tactics, techniques and procedures-warfighter readiness, testing, experimentation, tactical to operational-bridged events, and standards development for USAF Air Combat Command and its allies. Their efforts range all the way up to theater-level, full spectrum combat training, test, and mission rehearsal, including Air Combat Command’s Synthetic Battlespace inter-team training events; Air Expeditionary Force-aligned, quarterly recurring Virtual Flag exercises; etc.
Lockheed Martin will continue to operate the award-winning center, building and maintaining network infrastructure, developing and maintaining associated software and hardware, and conducting distributed mission operations engineering activities at Kirkland Air Force Base, NM. The contract runs until Jan 31/17, and is managed by the AFNWC/PKE at Kirkland AFB, NM (FA9422-12-D-0001).
Oct 24, 2011 18:11 UTC
Greek F-16 TS
In an age of expensive fighters, expensive fuel, limited flight time, and cheaper computing power, high-fidelity simulators have become an important component of pilot training. L-3 Link Simulation and Training in Arlington, TX is a global leader in this segment, with a very strong position in fighter plane simulators, and their associated Mission Training Centers. They’re often partnered with another major contractor in those efforts. Boeing is L-3’s partner for F-16 Mission Training Centers, for instance, even though the F-16 is a Lockheed Martin plane.
In October 2011, L-3 Link received a maximum $469.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost reimbursement contract to support 183 of their their F-16 TS (training system) installations around the world for the USAF (33 global locations, incl. Hill AFB, UT), and F-16 customers Bahrain, Greece, and Jordan. The contract doesn’t involve any simulators, but “support” means more than just simulator maintenance, training operations that include other devices, and keeping up the associated databases of simulated objects. It also involves change management to install simulator upgrades if requested, and keeping each simulator remains faithful to changes and upgrades in the real F-16 fleets. The USAF’s ASC/WNSK, at Wright Patterson AFB, OH, manages this contract for ther USAF, and acts as the agent for its Foreign Military Sale clients (FA8621-12-D-6337).
Oct 19, 2011 16:51 UTC
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The Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA is an outgrowth of the BRAC 2005 process, which consolidated the Army Armor Center and School with the Army Infantry Center and School. In October 2011, they issued a 5-year, maximum $458 million contract among 14 contractors.
Winners will bid on task orders to help the center produce training strategies, doctrine, capabilities, analysis, instruction and products for the current and future force. Per standard procedure, work location will be determined with each task order, during a contract period that will run until Sept 30/16. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 34 bids received by the Mission Contracting Office in Fort Bragg, NC. The 14 winners were:
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Sep 29, 2011 16:28 UTC
In late September 2011, SERE Solutions, Inc. in Spokane, WA received a $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) services. Work will be performed at Fairchild AFB, WA, and Lackland AFB, TX. The Air Education and Training Command CONS/LGCU at Randolph Air Force Base, TX, manages the contract (FA3002-06-D-0008, PO 0026). The contract number indicates that it has been going since FY 2006, but this is the first public DefenseLINK announcement.
SERE is no walk in the park. It’s designed to prepare more than 6,500 aircrew and “high risk of capture” DOD personnel to survive under any conditions. That includes arctic, desert, open ocean, jungle, mountain… and even captivity. Cdr. Frank “Spig” Wead describes his SERE experiences in detail, and its details explain why SERE became a news item in recent years: the use of “waterboarding” on all participating personnel. That same technique was used on a few senior al-Qaeda personnel, most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but Cdr. Wead’s take on it was not universally shared by those who endured it in SERE school.
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